The unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level in nearly five years, an indication that the labor market in Taiwan is stable, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The jobless rate last month dropped to 4.07 percent from 4.17 percent in March, marking the lowest level since July 2008.
On an annual basis, unemployment fell 0.03 percentage points last month, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.
However, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — a more accurate indicator of the long-term trend — rose for the second consecutive month to 4.19 percent last month from 4.18 percent in March, the DGBAS said.
“The labor market did not show deterioration, but also showed no significant signs of a rebound,” DGBAS deputy director Chen Min (陳憫) told a press conference.
The number of unemployed people decreased by 11,000 to 464,000 last month from a month earlier, with the number of people quitting their jobs due to dissatisfaction down by 5,000, and the number of people losing their jobs as a result of businesses downsizing or factories closing declining by 2,000, the report said.
However, the sluggish trend in export orders signified limited future demand for new employees in the manufacturing sector, Chen said.
Daniel Lee (李大華), a public relations director at manpower agency 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行), said the nation’s jobless rate may start rising this month since a large number of first-time jobseekers — who are about to graduate from the education system — are set to enter the job market and raise the seasonal number of unemployed.
The unemployment rate for those aged 20 to 24 stood at 13.04 percent last month, declining by 0.31 percentage points from March, with the rate for 25 to 29-year-olds down 0.31 percentage points from a month ago to 6.87 percent.
The DGBAS yesterday also published the average monthly wage of employees in the industrial and service sectors, which rose 0.74 percent in the first quarter to NT$37,508 from a year ago — the highest level ever recorded.
However, overall average monthly wages, including bonuses and compensation, dropped 1.64 percent to NT$54,897 in the first three months from a year earlier, as employers distributed fewer bonuses following weak economic sentiment last year, the DGBAS said.
After adjusting for inflation — which climbed 1.81 percent year-on-year in the first three months of the year — real average wages including bonuses and compensation fell 3.39 percent from a year earlier to NT$53,689 in the first quarter to hit the lowest level in four years, agency statistics showed.
The figure was lower than the NT$56,949 real average wage recorded in 1998, indicating that the nation’s wage earners are experiencing a tougher economy now than they did 15 years ago.